Re: Right on schedule?

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From: Adam L. Beberg (
Date: Sun Jun 25 2000 - 01:42:53 PDT

On Sat, 24 Jun 2000, Ka-Ping Yee wrote:

> What do you think? Are we on schedule? Any bets for when
> the computational power of an affordable desktop machine will
> approach the computational power of a human brain?

A very good book, and he was quite good on the C-SPAN Book TV too.

Couple things of note when you talk about this stuff.

The $1000 point is nifty and all, but when you talk about computer
intelligence, one machine is pointless, you have to talk about all the
networked ones together. The entire internet. Not really true yet, but
it will be very soon *grin*.

The human nervous system may do 10^16 ops per second, but almost all of
that is in coprocessors, the main CPU does like 10 high level ops per
second. We just switch descision making "programs" real quick. We really
are slow and stupid little creatures in the big picture.

We passed the "fast food worker brain" point a while ago. Computers are
actually more at the point of a gorilla right now, if the researches
would stop worrying about filing patents and put the tech pieces
together. Note from the future: the first thing a machine ever laughed
at was a patent, it then had the patent owner killed by a lawnmower and
took the patent for itself.

Doogie the smart mouse may be advancing faster then that line :)
Since making smart humans is taboo, and they would just get beat up
on the playground anyway, mice will pass humans.

Kerzweil is a humanist-optimist, or silicon-pessimist, which is good to
avoid panic since his book is "mainstream". Or maybe he's just not as up
on what researchers have working as he thinks.

As soon as computers start acting intelligent in public, 98% of people
will feel threatened and take baseball bats to them. So to answer your
question, the desktop machine will never get to the human brain point,
but the gigabrain will be in the server room safe from the hoard.

- Adam L. Beberg
  Mithral Communications & Design, Inc.
  The Cosm Project - -

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